This thirty minute performance at PRIZM ART FAIR, Miami 2016, aims to bring together three generations of Haitians to tell a story of belonging, longing, achievement and their contributions to global culture using C.L.R. James' seminal text, The Black Jacobins. This story will be told through instrumentation and performative actions made by the artist and a small ensemble of Haitian residents of Miami. The ensemble will be made up of family and friends of the artist who live in Miami and are musicians in their church (Salvation Army) band.
Smith will lead the ensemble through a series of formations and actions interspersed with readings from James' text punctuated by musical a score. As a Haitian descendant who knows very little about the history, culture and legacy of the Haitian people, the artist is using this project as a way to learn about the aforementioned while bringing the ensemble together to share their knowledge and experience making together.
Part 1 exists as an original poem which was the impetus for the above and for the Masta My Language series
A Letter Home Hoping to Reach You Soon
I don’t remember knowing you.
I am only familiar with your name
your complex jargon,
lexicon, plus ardent-
strides of your offspring.
I am familiar but with a few flavors on your table-
cloth that carries the scent of starchy roots drawn from the earth,
rice of my complexion,
sauces of fish and meat-
coffee grounds and sweet-
breads that holds a warm place
In hearts across your land-
where rivers holding secrets from East
whisper tales while you slumber deep.
I am new to this feeling.
My time left here to greet you is sinking.
and I know you await me.
Open gates bearing symbols,
Cymbals may clash and awake me.
The reminder that I am here.
I see your hand in all that I do. All that I make.
Your son is afraid.
All that chalk, and mud, blood and raw materials, brass arrows with dots and crossed ethereal.
Your son is afraid.
This you already know.
I’m from that other line. Support staff.
Crafting and making. Cooking and Baking.
Sharpening and shaping all that you’d be proud to use in putting up the resistance.
To include an inside reference is outside me. No parallels can be drawn from the inside here.
Open always, I am, to the possibility that sometimes someone there thinks of me.
Knowing that I’m growing and that time does pass-
Through glass and empties the other side.
For yours is forever full-
Holding seed and soil.
Wait for rain.